Having gone to school in Scotland, I understand that shortbread is more than a biscuit: it's a cultural and culinary pillar of the British palate. My friends relished their shortbread binges, especially during finals season. Day trips to Edinburgh always culminated in seeking out the finest shortbread before catching the train back home.
Some may take shortbread's delicate and simple flavor for granted. To combat this travesty, it's time to give shortbread the attention and appreciation it deserves. In collaboration with shortbread aficionados from across the pond, here are five types of store-bought shortbread you cannot miss- in order of best, to still pretty dang good.
While perhaps the least complex flavor profile, Sainsbury's store-brand shortbread biscuits are a great alternative to pricier, more upscale brands. They have a mellow flavor that pairs well with tea and coffee, and a price that can't be beat (around £2-3 a unit, depending on volume).
For long-term lovers of shortbread, this brand (which is now distributed to many major supermarkets) epitomizes the ideal crispy-crumbly-sweet balance. These biscuits make excellent pie bases or an easy ice cream topping. In a pinch, Sainsbury's is a reliable stop on the hunt for an emergency shortbread fix.
Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread is perhaps the most popular store-bought brand—a title it certainly has merited. It is reliably crumbly and buttery, without being cloyingly sweet. The simplicity of these biscuits allows for tea-dunking, jam pairings, or even enjoying the biscuit on its own.
If you've just been introduced to the shortbread lifestyle, this is a great place to start developing your palate.
Harrods is a jack of all trades—patrons can browse luxury designer clothes and stock up on groceries at the same time. Much like their couture garments, their speciality grocery items are worth noting.
These shortbread biscuits are high quality and notably "cleaner" tasting than many other mass-produced brands. If your budget is flexible, these are worth trying on your next Harrods run.
I struggle to identify a pairing more authentically Scottish than that of whiskey and shortbread. Glenfiddich, a renowned Scotch manufacturer, produces this whisky shortbread that has quickly become a cult favorite.
The Scotch's subtle oaky vanilla is complemented by the shortbread's buttery richness, creating a more dimensional flavor profile. Ideal on a blistery winter day, or to celebrate the holiday season.
1. Reids of Caithness
Hailing from the Scottish Highlands, Reid's of Caithness boasts sophistication and quality. Their biscuits maintain the true cultural integrity of Scottish shortbread, while also flaunting new flavors such as Raspberry White Chocolate and Orange.
Whether you're a lifetime shortbread devotee or are new to the calling, these five scrumptious store-bought shortbread brands all offer unique and distinct variations on the Scottish classic. Be it a mission to satisfy a sweet tooth or hone your shortbread wisdom, the search for the best store-bought shortbread is bound to be delicious.